When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive! Revelation 1:12-18
Our time together of considering the phrase “Fear not” started in Genesis and ends in Revelation. We could have spent much longer exploring this theme, for nearly all of the books of the Bible contain this phrase. As puny human beings, fear and awe seem to be our natural reaction when God bursts into our lives. Even the seasoned disciple John falls down flat when the living Lord appears to him.
And rightly so, for as the Proverbs say, the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (1:7). A proper and holy fear acknowledges God’s majesty and glory; that he is God and we are not. When we rightly fear him, we want to obey his commands and his leading.
With our two lovely children, we seek to instill in them a healthy fear of the Lord, partly through prayer and teaching, but also through discipline. We don’t enjoy taking away screen time or when they were little sending them to the naughty chair. But encouraging them to change their hearts and obey with a good attitude takes time and perseverance. I wonder if the Lord feels the same with us at times, when we put our own agendas before his, or are ungrateful for his grace.
Jesus appeared to John in a brilliant vision of flashing light and sound. John feared him, but the Lord brought reassurance: He was no longer dead but alive. He had overcome death and the evil one. So too does Jesus want to appear to us, saying “Fear not; I am with you. The waters won’t pass over you. The flames won’t burn you. I will never leave or forsake you. You are my beloved. Fear not, and come with me.”
How will we respond?
Prayer: Holy Father, loving Son, comforting Spirit, we honor you with a holy fear. May you increase our awe and wonder at your glories and goodness. Amen.